AI TOOLS have created images based on what they think shows healthy exercise, and the result is shocking.
Leading sports brand Asics called out artificial intelligence platforms for creating what it calls unrealistic body images.
AI created images of people with no body fat, chiselled jaws, muscles and sometimes 12-pack abs.
Sports brand Asics says this doesn't show "the real benefit of exercise", which they say is the "mental health uplift".
They said it focuses on "extreme physical transformations".
The brand has launched an AI training programme in response, which aims to change how consumers and AI platforms think of healthy exercise.
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This will be a collection of pictures showing real people, who are "enjoying exercise for the feeling, not the aesthetics".
Gary Raucher of ASICS EMEA, said: “When we discovered that popular AI image-generating tools were creating unrealistic depictions of people who exercised – demotivating people to the point of exclusion from exercise, we were compelled to take action.”
When shown the AI generated images of “healthy people” who exercise, additional research commissioned by ASICS found 72 per cent believe the pictures present an unrealistic body type.
The same number said they could cause people to feel worried about their own body.
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Almost a fifth believe this body could only be achieved after taking substances like steroids, and some even thought cosmetic surgery would be necessary.
But only seven per cent believed the physique shown in the pictures is unachievable.
Emotional responses to the images varied but were mainly negative.
People said the pictures made them feel unfit, inferior, unattractive or insecure – with some saying they felt less motivated to exercise as a result.
Research does show, though, that 70 per cent agree mental health is the biggest benefit of regular exercise.
Hayley Jarvis, head of physical activity at Mind, which is backing the campaign, said: “Being physically active is a fantastic way of boosting your mental health and self-esteem, but we know that some people experience barriers to being active.
“In Mind's own research, we found that two in five inactive people say they don't take part in physical activity because they feel self-conscious about their body.
“This is particularly true for women (51 per cent) compared to men (30 per cent).
“We want people to enjoy being physically active for the way it makes us feel, setting realistic goals that aren’t based around our weight or shape.”
Users can donate their own exercise images to the AI Training by uploading their pictures to social media, using #TrainingAI and tagging in @ASICS.
AI expert Omar Karim said: “AI is an extremely impressive tool, and its possibilities are endless.
“While it’s exciting that AI can be used in so many interesting ways, it’s extremely important that it’s taught to accurately represent the world and people around us.
“One of the interesting parts about the way AI works is that it learns from the years of content shared online.
He says it is important for people to ensure that AI is taught to unlearn things that might be harmful.
“What we are looking at is today’s equivalent of airbrushing, only it’s being done automatically and without human judgement.
“I’m really excited to be working with ASICS on this project and impressed by the action they’re taking.
“I hope this is just the start of brands looking to shape AI in a truly progressive way.”
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